GIVING HOPE, REBUILDING LIVES
In his younger days, Mr Theodore Ding never would have imagined he would be where he is today – stricken with Parkinson’s disease. Life now is a far cry from his heydays when he was a law enforcement officer, an entrepreneur, and the owner of three companies.
Mr Ding started his career in the police force and stayed on for more than 15 years. After surviving the bombing attacks during Konfrontasi in 1965, he left the force and started a transportation business with a partner.
He recalled, “Thankfully, my business did well, and I could provide my parents with a better life and help many friends financially.” However, things started to take a nosedive in the late 1970s.
Mr Ding’s father was diagnosed with acute leukemia. To care for his father, he entrusted his business to his partner. Unfortunately, the business collapsed due to mismanagement and he lost everything. As he approached the age of 60; his own health started deteriorating.
A TURN FOR THE WORSE
He started experiencing swelling and pain in his knee joints, but he dismissed the ailments. The pain did not go away. One day, he woke up and found himself unable to walk. He was later diagnosed with bilateral knee osteoarthritis, a painful and degenerative chronic condition that limits his mobility.
Losing his ability to walk left the fiercely independent Mr Ding frustrated and in despair. His condition did not improve even after undergoing an operation and rehabilitation. He could not leave his rented flat for six months due to the pain, and his savings were eventually depleted.
Before he could come to terms with his debilitating knee condition, he suffered another blow when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He started to get tremors, stiff limbs and lost his sense of balance. His life fell apart.
HELP WHEN HE NEEDED IT MOST
Worried about his well-being, a relative referred Mr Ding to O’Joy Care Services. A senior counsellor reviewed Mr Ding’s case and after much coordination, secured a place for him to receive rehabilitation. With regular rehabilitation coupled with a volunteer para-counsellor checking in on him every fortnightly, Mr Ding slowly gained more mobility and confidence to connect socially with other seniors. Today, Mr Ding continues to benefit from community care services with the support from SP Heartware Fund.
When Circuit Breaker measures were implemented to fight the coronavirus pandemic, non-essential elder care and face-to-face counselling services for seniors were halted nationwide. As one of the many vulnerable seniors living alone, Mr Ding continues to receive weekly visits from a caregiver, an initiative supported by the Lion Befrienders. The caregiver helps to monitor his overall health, checks on his groceries needs and carries out household chores that Mr Ding is unable to do on his own.
“Because of SP Heartware Fund and O’Joy, I can undergo physiotherapy, and meet counsellors and volunteers whom I am very thankful for my recovery and well-being. Because of the generosity of many donors, I know that others in my situation will also receive the help that they need,” said Mr Ding.
With his health on the mend, and a strong determination to live a full life, Mr Ding puts his flair of the English language to good use by providing feedback to the relevant authorities to improve the lives of the seniors within his community.
There are more than 47,000 seniors living alone today. This number is expected to increase to 83,000 by 2030. In these uncertain times, these vulnerable seniors are in greater need of a helping hand.
NCSS Charitable Fund UEN No.: T03CC1692B
Since 2005, SP Group has been supporting Community Chest’s services for seniors through the SP Heartware Fund. The Fund helps about 15,000 seniors from underprivileged backgrounds, through vital services such as befriending, rehabilitation, counselling, caregiver support and community homes. Your support through the SP Heartware Fund will make a difference.
Make a difference today.